By Robert A. Vella

There are those who commit crimes, those who enable crimes, and those who ignore crimes which serve their own self-interest.  From a legal standpoint, the first is definitely prosecutable, the second is sometimes prosecutable, and the third is not prosecutable.  However, all three are guilty of the same offense – a rejection of the morals and ethics which bind civil society together.  While the perpetrator may have a variety of motivations and the enabler is typically a master manipulator, it is those who ignore or even condone such crimes who do the most damage.  For without their tacit or explicit consent, both the perpetrator and the enabler are left exposed and vulnerable to the institutions of justice.

This is the inescapable position Republicans have put themselves into today as they commit crimes, enable crimes, and ignore crimes on behalf of the most blatantly corrupt and treacherous president in America history.  They have profoundly rebranded their party ahead of next year’s election, and the American people are taking notice.  The G.O.P. has become the Grand Old Pariah.

Here is this weekend’s news roundup:

From:  2nd Official Is Weighing Whether to Blow the Whistle on Trump’s Ukraine Dealings

WASHINGTON — A second intelligence official who was alarmed by President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistle-blower complaint and testify to Congress, according to two people briefed on the matter.

The official has more direct information about the events than the first whistle-blower, whose complaint that Mr. Trump was using his power to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals touched off an impeachment inquiry. The second official is among those interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the allegations of the original whistle-blower, one of the people said.

The inspector general, Michael Atkinson, briefed lawmakers privately on Friday about how he substantiated the whistle-blower’s account. It was not clear whether he told lawmakers that the second official was considering filing a complaint.

From:  In Months Before Trump Call, Ukraine Officials Sweated White House Pressure

KYIV, Ukraine—Two weeks after national elections in April vaulted him from the role of television comic to Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky got word that President Trump’s personal lawyer wanted to come to Kyiv to talk.

Mr. Zelensky and his advisers, many of whom were ex-producers and screenwriters, huddled over the request. Before his improbable rise, Mr. Zelensky didn’t know who Rudy Giuliani was, according to one aide. By now, though, Mr. Zelensky sensed trouble. In an April 7 appearance on Fox News, the former New York City mayor had made it clear he wanted information about his client’s political rival, Joe Biden, and his family.

Mr. Zelensky, fearful of getting sucked into a foreign drama when he had plenty at home, declined to take the meeting.

From:  Trump Orders Cut to National Security Staff After Whistle-Blower

(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump has ordered a substantial reduction in the staff of the National Security Council, according to five people familiar with the plans, as the White House confronts an impeachment inquiry touched off by a whistle-blower complaint related to the agency’s work.

Some of the people described the staff cuts as part of a White House effort to make its foreign policy arm leaner under new National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.

The request to limit the size of the NSC staff was conveyed to senior agency officials by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and O’Brien this week. The whistle-blower complaint, focused on Trump’s conduct in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has been followed by damaging reports on the president’s private conversations with other world leaders.

China vows not to ‘interfere’ after Trump asks for Biden probe

Trump promised China US silence on Hong Kong protests during trade talks

From:  Purdue opioid deal blasted as records show $13B to Sacklers

Attorneys general representing nearly half the states and lawyers for more than 500 local governments on Friday blasted the terms of Purdue Pharma’s offer to settle thousands of lawsuits over the nation’s opioid crisis in court filings that also said the company had funneled up to $13 billion to its controlling family.

Their legal filings said the tentative deal does not contain an admission of wrongdoing from members of the Sackler family, would not stop family members from future misconduct and wouldn’t force them to repay money “they pocketed from their illegal conduct.”

The documents say members of the Sackler family — one of the wealthiest in the U.S. — made $12 billion to $13 billion from Purdue, a higher amount than court records had previously given. The figure was in a sworn statement given last month by Jesse DelConte, a restructuring consultant for Purdue; an excerpt of his deposition did not specify over what time period those payments were made.

U.S. judge keeps intact Massachusetts’ toughest-in-nation vaping ban

Connecticut Supreme Court won’t hear Sandy Hook parents’ case against Newtown, bringing legal fight to a close

State’s attorney lists 22 Baltimore police officers as discredited; prosecutors begin wiping out 790 convictions

California Reforms College Admissions Following Bribery Scandal

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